Expert Tips for Staying Strong Through Your Dry January Attempt
The new year is here and with the newness comes the reset button that is a January filled with resolutions, plans and goals. Dry January, or the practice of abstaining from alcohol for the entire month, has become more common year after year. In addition to providing health benefits like improved sleep, more energy and better skin, a break from the booze can also lead to better focus, clarity and improved mental health. And after the year we’ve had, taking a break from imbibing can seem harder than ever, so we asked some “Dry January” experts for tips on making it to day 31.
Licensed physician and board-certified psychiatrist Bankole Johnson, MD says identifying and avoiding triggers is the best way to remain successful in your pursuit of sobriety. “Cravings for alcohol can be intense, especially in those with alcohol use disorder,” notes Dr. Johnson.
“Most cravings subside within 15 minutes, so having an effective strategy to cope beforehand is important. Obviously, if you know places or situations that can trigger your drinking, it is best to avoid these. If you are developing cravings it is best to remove yourself from that situation.”
If fleeing the scene just isn’t possible, Dr. Johnson says employing a range of distraction techniques can help curb the cravings. “I recommend using training imagery to focus on a neutral or enjoyable stimulus (like walking on a beach); counting down and taking deep breaths; distraction with relaxation such as suitable music tapes; or even taking on an entirely different activity.”
Need a good substitute to prepare for social occasions? Anne Hulett, founder of the nonalcoholic crystal elixir Rock Grace, created her wine alternative from her own desire to cut back on her drinking. What she found was that there weren’t a lot of natural, healthy alternatives available that gave her the same feeling as socially drinking without the drawbacks of consuming alcohol. “I had discovered several natural health and beauty remedies that made me feel good and empowered and I was just on this mission to bottle them up. I created the recipe in my kitchen, and I was very into crystal elixirs and healing adaptogens and I put together a formulation and just started doing tastings and found a lot of women like myself, who didn’t want the negative side effects from drinking wine and wanted something to fill that gap.”
Hulett now has three nonalcoholic beauty beverages—Rock Grace Crystal Elixir, Rock Grace Sparkling and Rock Grace Ruby Reserve—which encourage vibrational alignment and are infused with a variety of crystals, botanicals, and adaptogens. The best part, they mimic the look and feeling of a rosé all day moment without the hangover.
Making It to February
Dr. Johnson says now is a good time to create a simple diary of the pros and cons of drinking. “You should also continuously chart the success of your improved drinking goals and congratulate yourself throughout the month on your achievement,” he says. “Think of ‘Dry January’ as a steppingstone towards greater long-term health. It also helps to learn more about the hazards of excessive alcohol use, and if possible, to have someone who can encourage you to stay on track.”
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